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Fortunately the Milk

fortunately-the-milkNeil Gaiman, Chris Riddell (illus)

Age 7-9

When mum goes off to a conference dad is in charge with a list of instructions. But he quickly forgets the one about getting some milk. Next morning there is no milk for cereal or tea so dad goes off to buy some. When he eventually returns he recounts a series of amazing adventures to explain why he was so long, with aliens who want to take over (and redecorate!) earth, pirates, dinosaurs, volcanoes and a time machine. Fortunately he brings back the milk! But why don’t the children believe his story?

An amusing and surreal adventure in which tables are turned as dad is the one making up excuses for his lateness, the wonderfully detailed illustrations and comic strip sequences add to the humour.

Watch a trailer here



Talk about the book

Look at the illustrations at the back of the book, talk together about the characters and share your favourites.

Talk about why the children don’t believe dad’s story, would you have believed it?

What might mum say when she comes home? What would the children tell her about what happened?


Things to make and do

  • Take turns to retell the main events in the story with ‘fortunately, unfortunately’ statements, eg: Unfortunately Dad was picked up by aliens, fortunately he escaped through a space-time continuum.

  • Role play a conversation between mum and dad or mum and one of the children after she comes home.

  • Using a large piece of paper draw and annotate a story map to show all the different places Dad finds himself and the different characters Dad encounters.


Find out more

Find out more about Neil Gaiman

Visit Neil Gaiman’s website for young readers. This contains extras, a discussion guide and downloadables

Other titles include:

The Graveyard Book

The day I swapped my Dad for two goldfish

Wolves in the Walls

Find out more about Chris Riddell Children’s Laureate 2015-17

Read more books by Chris Riddell. He has illustrated many books for other writers. Books he has written and illustrated include:

Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse

Ottoline and the Yellow Cat

Buy Fortunately the Milk